What Makes a Good Writer?
Ask anyone what they think makes a good writer, and the answers will run the gamut.
Is it their attention to detail? Absolutely. How about their strong vocabulary and command of the English language? Must-haves, every time! What about an undying passion for storytelling, a knack for hooking a reader, and making complex thoughts simple and easy to read?
Yes! All of that – and so much more.
The list of qualifications for what makes a good writer is long – and deservedly so.
I tried to answer this question, and many more, in a recent interview with Journalism.co.uk. We discussed writing, writers, the journalism profession in general, and, of course, my new book, Write Like You Mean It: Mastering Your Passion For The Written Word.
Please click here to read the full article. But below is a quick teaser for what you'll read.
Interested in writing like you mean it? Buy my book!
Q: What are your Top 3 tips on good writing?
A: Number one is to be a storyteller and put a human face on whatever story you are trying to tell. Regardless of whether you are a journalist, blogger, or nonfiction writer, you should have the innate desire to go beyond the normal process of putting words on paper and instead tell the story people want to read. As I say in my book, "people want to read about people. It just makes what you're writing about more understandable and compelling."
The second tip is to become a pro at using the active voice (when the subject of a sentence performs the verb's action). This is one of the best ways to materially strengthen your writing. Each sentence is stronger, more direct, and impactful. And more importantly, the reader feels the emotion in your writing.
The third tip is to allow yourself to be open to constructive criticism and feedback and use those golden nuggets as opportunities to be a better writer tomorrow than you were today. Surround yourself with other writers. Share your work with each other, and look forward to when another writer or mentor shares how you could have written something better.
Q: What are the essential components of an engaging story?
A: Good, clean writing at its basic level – perfect grammar; an active, powerful voice; a varied sentence structure and word choice. Putting a human face on the piece and quality, compelling storytelling.
Q: What advice would you give to a young writer starting out today?
A: Take the leap and put yourself out there. You were born to write, and the last thing you want is some of your best work collecting dust on a bedroom shelf somewhere. Once you have put yourself out there, determine what it is you enjoy writing about the most, seek guidance from other writers in that genre who can help you push forward, and constantly strive to be a better writer tomorrow than you were today.
Read, read, and read some more, but please do so with a critical eye. What did you like about what you read? What did you not like? How would you have written it better? These are great habits to start early in your career. They will serve you well years down the road.
How can you get your hands on Write Like You Mean It?
I'm so glad you asked. This book is for writers of all experience levels, genres, and professional pursuits. Whether you’re a journalist, college writer, aspiring freelancer, or future novelist, this book is for you, so you too can Write Like You Mean It!
Get your copy:
I would love to see this book end up in every creative writing or journalism course in every high school, college, and major university in the country. If you are a professional who works in any of those settings, I'd love to talk to you. If you know someone who does, please let me know how I can let them know about this important book!
Thank you for reading!
*STEVE GAMEL is the President & Owner of Edit This, a writing and editing services company located in Denton, TX, and the author of Write Like You Mean It: Mastering Your Passion For The Written Word. Steve handles anything involving the written word. Give him a call today to help give your business a clear voice.